E-Commerce goes 3D

For many consumers, the Web has become an essential shopping tool. So, your site had

For many consumers, the Web has become an essential shopping tool. So, your site had

better deliver the goods.

One way to jazz up your online presence is to incorporate a 3D catalogue complete with to-scale models of your products that users can measure and rotate. An application from Maynard, Mass.-based software co Kaon Interactive, the 3D Catalog does just that. It recently scored public kudos from Harvey Seegers, president of Atlanta-based Home Depot Direct, who praised the application at an e-commerce conference. Seegers has been using it on the Home Depot Web site, as well as at in-store kiosks to facilitate special orders.

Kaon president/CEO Gavin Finn says the 3D application is best suited for complicated

products that potential buyers will want to get a good look at, like technical items, as well as products that are hard to describe, like lights. Client Rob Cohen, president of Itasca, Ill.-based Display Supply & Lighting Group, falls into the latter category.

‘We’re appealing to designers and producers – they don’t always work regular hours,’ he explains, adding that the 3D Catalog allows his customers to measure and inspect virtual models 24 hours a day. Cohen says he was surprised by how cost-effective the application is as the technology has allowed him to include 275 products in his online catalogue – considerably more than the 75 products he was able to include when he was using a more traditional photo-based print catalogue. Kaon generates all virtual models, but clients are able to update their own catalogues with simple point-and-click commands.

Since Cohen started using the 3D Catalog at the end of November, the average length of visits to his Web site, www.dslgroup.com, have tripled, going up from 30 seconds to over 1.5 minutes. And, his January sales this year were up 26% over last year. While Cohen says he can’t definitively attribute the sales boost to the 3D Catalog alone, it has certainly been a big factor, and he plans to begin using Kaon’s new 3D PDF application before the end of this quarter. ‘What I’m amazed at right now is the [3D PDF's] ability to allow the customer to orient the product the way they want it and print it out. It puts my customer in control,’ he says, noting that his customer service people will also be able to e-mail PDFs to customers.

Pricing for the 3D applications varies, but marketers can expect to pay about US$25 a month per product. Other 3D Catalog clients include Texas Instruments and B & B Electronics. The 3D PDF application is just hitting the market now.